The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Mikael Blomkvist, financial journalist and publisher of the modestly successful magazine 'Millennium' finds himself facing financial ruin and a prison sentence when he is sued for libel by a crooked business tycoon called Wennerström for running a story based on an off-the-record tip off. He reluctantly accepts a commission from another businessman, Henrik Vanger, with the promise of not only a large sum of money but crucial information to help him clear his name and nail Wennerström. Ostensibly he is to write a family history of the sprawling Vanger clan and their convoluted business dealings, but his real task is to investigate the disappearance of Henrik's 16 year old niece Harriet, who vanished in mysterious circumstances forty years previously. Henrik believes that she was murdered, and that the killer is now sending him a pressed flower in a frame every year to torment him. Meanwhile, a young computer hacker called Lisbeth Sallandar has been commissioned to run a background check on Blomkvist, but she has more pressing problems of her own to deal with.
This is an intriguing mystery story with a large number of characters to keep track of as Blomkvist tries to piece together events from the past. The resolution is slightly disappointing after the excellent build up, and will seem quite familiar to anyone who has read any crime genre fiction from recent years, including the obligatory nutty room. Larsson also has an odd habit of listing in detail the contents of bookshelves and the technical specifications of any computers that the protagonists use. The book is saved though by the Swedish setting which manages to feel familiar to British readers and oddly different at the same time. The characters of the phlegmatic Blomkvist and the tenacious Sallandar are very engaging, and would probably encourage me to pick up the other two books in the series.
View all my reviews >>